A new study from the University of California, San Francisco indicates the rates of breast cancer risks with patients presenting dense breast tissue.
The findings of the study conducted by Dr. Karla Kerlikowske – professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatics at the University of California, were published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
At this point there is great confusion surrounding the reading of a mammogram’s results. How to find dense breast tissue and what further action should be taken. To this extent, the new University of California study attempted to address some of the concerns.
In analyzing 831,445 mammograms retrieved from the mammography registries of the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, first mammograms, as well as unilateral ones were excluded as non-relevant. Also, the research excluded those that were taken less than 9 months apart. The mammograms were collected from 2002 to 2011.
The findings indicated that for women with extremely dense breast tissue the interval cancer rates that are greater than 1 case in 1000 mammograms was of 1.67 percent. 47.5 percent of the women present extremely dense breast tissue. For women with heterogeneously dense breast tissue, who made up 19.5 percent of the study, the 5-year risk was indicated at 2.5 percent or above.
Breast density is directly linked with higher risks of cancer and is a stumble in the process of finding a tumor using X-rays. A 5-year risk that is calculated at between 1-1.66 percent is average. A 5-year risk above 2.5 percent is high. However, not all women who present dense breast tissue are at high risk of cancer.
That is why, under the circumstances women are advised to undergo different analysis like ultrasound or M.R.I. In the case of women with dense breast tissue these investigations significantly improve the chance of timely detecting a tumor, albeit their pricey fees.
Dr. Constance Lehman, an author of the study, stated that:
“While mammography is currently the best screening tool we have, there are women for whom mammography is not enough” .
Overall, the study from the University of California talks about only half of the women who have dense breast tissue finding themselves in a high risk position. For them, the extra tests of analyses are crucial.
So far, 22 states across the U.S. passed laws that require doctors to inform mammography patients of breast density and discuss further options if they fall under the high-risk category. Federal legislation has also been introduced both in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to address the concerns of several advocacy groups and practitioners.
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